Video: “Anta Gata Doko Sa” -Elena Moon Park and Friends (World Premiere)

Elena Moon Park - Rabbit Days and Dumplings Cover Art

Experiencing how other cultures greet each other is one of the things I love most about learning a new language. In many ways, the greetings are similar—”Hello,” “How are you,” “What is your name,” “My name is”—but expressed with their own unique flavor. The richness of World Music gives us a vehicle through which we can better understand and connect with a community of people, which is why I am thrilled to present today’s video premiere, “Anta Gata Doko Sa” (“Where Are You From?”).

Elena Moon Park made her 2012 debut with the stunning Rabbit Days and Dumplings, an album that mixes traditional American folk music with traditional Asian sounds offering a diverse array of songs from East Asia (Korea, Japan, China, Tibet and Taiwan).

“Anta Gata Doko Sa” is a popular Japanese children’s song often sung while playing with a bouncing ball. Park’s video features beautifully animated oil painting (credit: Lauren Gregory) that fluidly glides along with the smooth Dub-infused rhythm of the song. The combination is fun to watch and learn from. Look for a charming little girl who bounces a ball with her shoulders and transforms into a ball herself.

For those in the New York area, Elena Moon Park will be performing in Symphony Space’s Just Kidding Series with Sonia De Los Santos on Nov. 5. I highly recommend this show as both of these artists are extremely memorable.

Check out Park’s video for “Sol Nal” which features Sonia De Los Santos.

Subscribe to Park’s YouTube channel to view additional live performances, and follow Park on Facebook to stay in touch.

Videos!

It’s been quite a year. Big changes are coming to the Kids Can Groove household (to be revealed shortly!). While I’ve been busy on the home front, lots has been happening in the world of kids’ music and it is time to catch up on some excellent music videos.

Here are a few gems that have crossed my path recently, perfect to lovingly place in the back pocket of your favorite jeans. Or in any pocket you have handy.

“Smiles Are Contagious”Bobby Beetcut
While this isn’t Bobby Beetcut’s latest video (see “Energy” from Up in A Tree), “Smiles Are Contagious” is a catchy, timely contrast to the anxiety-producing (and frown-inducing) nature of current events. “What you put out comes back to you. When you feel love, you see that it’s true.” The video offers a powerful message behind a simple, yet equally powerful, gesture.

“Cousin Party”Karen K
Next up is some sweet country flare by Karen Kalafatas (of Karen K & the Jitterbugs) with a song and accompanying video that capture the joy and mischief of hanging with your ancestral brethren. “Cousin Party” is the second single release from Kalafatas’ bold solo effort, The Blue Bike Chronicles, which is meant to reach the more evolved, mature pre-tweenage crew. The single runs like Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” but without the Louisville Slugger and automobile fury. You’ll dig it, as will your pre-tween.

“Love Light Shine”KB Whirly & Mista Cookie Jar
Sometimes in music, you get collaborations that seem to be written in the stars, and you wonder, “What took them so long?” So it is with the gelling of KB Whirly and Mista Cookie Jar, two soul-fueled, super funktified, multifaceted kids’ music masters. They are so very well paired and really smooth. “Love Light Shine” was produced by Patrick Hanlin of Josh and the Jamtones and the result is a groovy vibe with far-out visuals that just makes you feel allll kinds of good.

“Lemonade”Justin Roberts
What happens when life hands you lemons? You dress them up and cast them in your video “Lemonade.” The latest release from Justin Roberts’ forthcoming album of the same name, “Lemonade” celebrates the nostalgia and refreshment on the dog days of summer and the tradition of setting up a stand to earn your first dollars. Justin’s delightful style echoes that of Paul Simon, both in his lyrical wit and his on-screen demeanor. A real treat to watch.

“Dream Too Much”Amy Lee
Amy Lee is known in the grown-up world as the golden voice of Evanescence (see “Bring Me To Life”). Now, after having a child of her own, she has partnered with Amazon Music to premiere her debut album for kids. The album’s first single, “Dream Too Much,” peeks into the surreal landscape of a child’s dream world, complete with animated paper imagery (such as flying sandwiches and jellyfish). The song’s mantra “there’s no way you can dream too much” gives kids (and parents) permission to let their imagination run free and wild because “once in a while you’ll have dreams that come true.”

 

“Dance Like There’s Music In Your Pants”Sara Lovell
Bay Area artist Sara Lovell encourages all happy feet to get on up and dance. Just like singing, moving your body is a therapeutic way to express yourself and lift your mood. Whether you’re dancing in your room, with your kids or friends, give this video a whirl and get ready to shake it. “Dance Like There’s Music in Your Pants” also features a special guest appearance by the son of Tommy Shepherd, Jr. (Alphabet Rockers).

New music!

While I’m working on some things behind the scenes, I’ve got some new music to share with you. So let’s take a dive into what’s poppin in the kindie world.

For the most part, the following items are videos, but I’m also pleased to share some audio clips from a couple of our favorite artists. So let’s start there.

Laura Doherty – “Early Bird & Night Owl” and “Animal Tracks”

Doherty releases her fourth children’s album today (April 1, 2026)! Animal Tracks is a collection of 10 previously released animal songs, plus 3 new ones. Dougherty has such a nice way of crafting cozy, singable songs. Doherty plays acoustic folk punctuated by a bouncy ukulele. A great combo that always prompts a little wiggle or two and incites lots of other kinds of interaction. Spending time with Dougherty always feels like a great way to pass the time. In celebration of the album’s release, she is also releasing the first single, “Early Bird, Night Owl” and the album’s title track.

Early Bird, Night Owl

Animal Tracks


Turkey Andersen – “Rhonda Bubbles”

Turkey Andersen is a crafty songwriter that tells interesting stories with a keen sense of humor. His sound echoes that of They Might Be Giants and is always entertaining to listen to. From Anderson’s latest album, Turkey Andersen 2, meet “Rhonda Bubbles” whose culinary choices are dictated by their shape. Unique, yet parents will find it very familiar.


The Okee Dokee Brothers – “Saddle Up.”
This video wows me as with most videos by the Brothers. Shot in Ultra HD, it’s almost like a virtual reality trip. Gorgeous panorama, sweeping landscapes from all points of view, and story song. “Saddle Up” is the first music video and title track from their forthcoming third adventure album. As Justin Lansing and Joe Mailander take viewers along for another ride as they once again explore and get inspired by the great outdoors. This time their journey takes them to the great West where, as you’ll see, they rode horses along the Continental Divide. Their story is inspiring and a testament to how getting connected with what’s outside really feeds the soul. Get ready to soak in the sights and sounds. Pre-order Saddle Up (CD + DVD Combo) through the Okee’s Official StoreiTunes | Amazon


The Singing Lizard – “Be Yourself”

Bay Area-based electro-kindie artist Liz DeRoche, aka The Singing Lizard, just released A Club Called Awesome which offers an exclusive membership for kids to find their happy place. And will they ever! In her latest video, DeRoche invites kids to be themselves, whatever that means to them. It’s a wonderful message and there is a really personal message in here for kids to know that there are no rules about what kids should like based on whether they are a girl or a boy. It’s a call for recognizing how awesome each and every child truly is. Get a behind the scenes explanation of what motivated DeRoche to write the song. Stay tuned for album review. iTunes | Amazon | Bandcamp


Jumpin’ Jamie – “Astronauts Love (feat. Danny Weinkauf)”

“Astronauts Love” will immediately appeal to kids’ curious minds as they follow along and imagine what it’s like to be an astronaut in space. Questions like  A clever, catchy little tune that fuses together what kids love to do in their own daily life with what an astronauts might be doing with all of their time in space. Could they really lift 600 lbs (due to lack of force) and not get sore? These and other questions are explored in Jamie’s new stop motion video. Purchase it at iTunes | Amazon


Phoebe Lichty – “Duck’s Song”

I’m a sucker for some good comedy and Phoebe Lichty’s video for “Duck’s Song” from her forthcoming album April Fool struck my funny bone. This video will absolutely make you smile. Though the song has a sincere message, Lichty has a pretty great sense of humor which balances the visual parody of the song’s accompanying video out nicely. “Duck’s Song” is presented as a parody of the TEDx stage speeches with a truly inspiring message. Heartfelt and empowering, the track encourages grabbing hold of your inner voice and owning your strengths and just going for it. No fear! Just fly!

“Duck’s Song” is also part of a greater narrative that lives in April Fool which tells the story of a girl (April) who wants to be a jester, a king who stands in her way, and a duck who inspires her to go for her dream.

As a gift, you can receive a full download of April Fool from Lichty’s official site (no joke)! You can also purchase tracks from the album at Lichty’s official store | iTunes


Chibi Kodama – “In My Room”

Man do I love encountering some rock music that echoes the likes of what I stock up in my own library. With their new video, “Take a Time Out” (off of last year’s We’re Not Going Crazy) Chibi Kodama comes forth with a new video for a stellar song that reminds me a little of Weezer with the crunchy electric guitars that dominate throughout (in a good way). It begs for high volume and air guitar, inflatable guitar, real guitar or any DIY guitar that will allow serious shredding as soon as you click play. The song itself touches upon the need for kids to recognize (and parents) when its time to take a time out and reset. That’s true wisdom right there and though it’s sometimes so hard to do in the moment, this rockin’ song offers a catchy lyric or two that will serve as helpful reminders. What else does this video have: Kids rockin’ out? Check. googly eye chin faces? Check! Order the album at iTunes | Amazon. Chibi Kodama will be releasing their third family album, Stardust, in late May 2016. Sample and preorder tracks from the album here.


Emily Arrow – “The Dot Song”

Emily Arrow is a kidlit singer-songwriter who brings children’s books to life through song. We are crazy about books here and when I first learned about Emily Arrow, I swept away by her magical ability to give the wonderful stories she covers a new dimension. Her sweet voice is immediately appealing and the songs have a pop radio quality to them. Arrow is 2015 Winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the Children’s Category for her song The Curious Garden Song which was inspired by the book THE CURIOUS GARDEN by Peter Brown. Emily was also a finalist in the 2015 Great American Song Contest and the 2014 John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Today’s video for “The Dot Song” is an older video but it’s featured on her debut Story Singalong Volume 1. Purchase the album Arrow’s her official site | iTunes | Amazon

Check This Out: Explorer of the World – Frances England

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Artist: Frances England
Album: Explorer of the World (official store) | iTunes | Amazon
NOTE: Read through for bonus activities for you and your family inspired by this album. England will be releasing an accompanying activity book (expected May 2016).

“Be an explorer of your world.” These were instructions given to my classmates and me during a recent improv class. Our assignment was to embody our experiences, put ourselves in other people’s shoes.

For example, the next time you eat sushi, imagine being the sushi chef. Embodying that identity brings you closer to the experience of eating sushi, appreciating the texture and taste beyond what you could access as just the consumer. You connect with your imagination and feed your curiosity.

I recalled the impact of this exercise when I first heard Frances England’s new album, Explorer of the World.

Sometimes people look they don’t see. They hear without listening. They miss the beat. And I don’t want to be the one to miss out. The one who’s not looking at the world around. (“Explorer of the World”)

We spend so much of our time in front of screens, digitally connecting with the world, that we forget to really see what’s around us. As my daughter Emily has gotten older and her interests have shifted more to gaming (and the excitement of a new Poseidon dragon being born in her game!), I admit I’ve become less motivated to get outside and just discover with her.

This modern-day state of affairs is partly what inspired England to create Explorer of the World, which urges families to find beauty in the world around us and really dig in.

Children are natural explorers and really the best improv instructors. Their imagination and super curiosity fuels us as parents. We get to break new ground with our kids in the real world. And it does get real. Like that moment when your child is playing with her umbrella in the gusty wind and she turns to you and asks, “What if I threw an umbrella up into space while standing on the sun?”

Those are the precious moments that Explorer of the World characterizes and inspires. In “Little by Little” England sings “I do love you, you appreciate the wonder in everything,” and I feel my heart ache because I want every moment to last while knowing the days are quickly ticking by. England brings such depth of emotion as a mother, the whole hearted and body feeling of loving your children with everything you have, wanting to savor the time you have with them while reassuring them (and yourself) that you will always be there. This is underscored in “My Street” as England sings, “I’ll be there to show, show, show you the way / I’ll be there to warn you about those twists and those turns / I’ll be there to lead you back home, to lead you back.”

What I love about Explorer of the World is the subtle reminder that feeding your curiosity doesn’t mean spending a lot of money or a big, grand outing; the world around us – whether city, country or our own backyard – provides so many little things to see, to understand and to learn. We can find patterns in common sights and familiar places and rhythm in everyday life, whether it’s stopping to listen to a beatboxer or grabbing hold of opportunity and pretending to be a tightrope walker on the shadow of a telephone wire.

francesenglandbannerA long-time resident of San Francisco, California, England uses the artful city as the backdrop and inspiration for her fourth album. In fact, England spent two years capturing the sights and the sounds of the city by carrying around a handheld recorder and integrating what she recorded into the songs. For Bay Area residents, the bucket drumming that opens “Street Life” is a street performance on Market Street, and ambient noises were recorded on late night walks through North Beach.

England is sensitive to the world. She feels through the things she sees and can so vividly recreate the richness and emotion of an experience. There is this layer of being awake, the exhilaration of seeing what we see when we step outdoors, to bond through our experiences together when we let the sizzle of our surroundings breathe life into us and take us away.

To produce Explorer of the World, England once again teamed up with Grammy award-winning producer Dean Jones. The album was also co-produced with Dave Winer from Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players. The result is a very eclectic composition that mixes electro and acoustic melodies and harmonies with a rhythmic blend of funk and beats. This new dynamic is a very fitting dimension to England’s smooth sound.

So whether we pretend to be a sushi chef, pack up a bag to climb Mt. Everest, make a map of our neighborhood, visit where our parents grew up, or actually fly to another land and step through a new culture, we have the power to experience life together as a family, treasuring every moment little by little. Those are memories that will change us, strengthen bonds, and last far beyond the time Poseidon the dragon was born.

Bonus activity: Be an explorer! Listen closely to England’s lyrics that offer fun suggestions to dive deeper into the adventures right outside your door. Watch for England’s accompanying activity book (expected May 2016).

  • Neighborhood Map: Make a map of your neighborhood. Draw in the houses. Fill in the trees. What about cars and their colors? Shrubs, animals, fences, mailboxes, kids, sidewalk cracks, neighborhood oddities and fixtures? Go home and draw your version of your neighborhood map and compare to your family members’ map. Discuss the ways you see things in similar and different ways.
    • Quiet Observation: Take a camera and notebook on a walk. Spend 10-20 minutes walking silently (depending on your children’s ages) and observe the things you pass every day until you find at least three patterns you’ve never noticed before. Look for shapes. Look for color. Talk about the patterns. Take notes. Take photos of the patterns.
  • Neighborhood History: Find out who has lived on your street the longest. Interview them. What has changed? What’s better? What’s worse?
  • People Watching: Sit on a bench in a public area or silently walk through your town or city. Listen to the people walking by. What are they saying? Write a story about who they are and where they’re going.
  • Family Meeting: Arrange a time for a family meeting. Bring a calendar. Have each family member name a place he or she really wants to go this year. Maybe the museum, the waterpark, the train stations, the zoo, camping trip, kayaking, the mountains, the ocean. Decide what’s realistic and write it down (whether it’s today, tomorrow, this year or in the near future).  

 

Sneak Peek Premiere: “Ballad for a Beatboxer” – Frances England

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On April 1, 2016 Frances England will release her fifth family album, Explorer of the World, which encourages families to experience life by connecting more with their surroundings. Prior to making the album, England spent two years observing and capturing the sights and the sounds of her neighborhood and local areas of San Francisco, CA, with a handheld recorder. Some of the sounds were then integrated into many of the songs on the album.

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 12.36.06 PMToday I am excited to share a video teaser and audio clip with you for the track “Ballad for a Beatboxer,” which features vocal percussionist Carlos Aguirre.

The song’s arrangement contains England’s soft melodies laced with Aguirre’s hip hop inspired beats. The two flow very well together, and the style is a welcome addition to England’s repertoire, which has steadily expanded into more rootsy, rhythmic territory. Aguirre really infuses the song with so much of what leaves me in awe about beatboxers: The musical landscape they create is borne from what they feel inside their heart and soul. They are the instrument and the musical language they speak is so genuinely unique. England eloquently expresses this sentiment as she sings  “And I can feel all the love he puts into those beat, he gives them to the people / He makes the world all his own / Where the music doesn’t stop / And the beat goes… 

England and Aguirre have worked together for many years at StageWrite, a nonprofit in San Francisco, CA, that teaches literacy through playwriting workshops. England helps attending kids write songs for their plays and Aguirre helps with the playwriting and expression exercises through beatboxing.

In addition to the video teaser you, you can take a listen to the full track, as well as other tracks from the album through the Soundcloud widget below.

For updates on the new album, new videos and related news, stay in touch with England through her official site, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, and don’t miss the release of Explorer of the World on April 1, 2016It’s a stunning, magnificent, hip, inspiring album and I can’t wait to share more of it with you! 

Check out my full album review which also includes music videos and family activity suggestions inspired by the album.

Video Premiere: “Sunflower Serenade” – Pete Sinjin

12814129_10209409076528895_4957642030797299336_nSpring is on the way! This time of year is always filled with anticipation as the days grow longer and bits of warm weather are just enough to entice little buds to make their way toward full bloom. There’s a refreshing sense of renewal and spirits noticeably begin to lift. One of my favorite flowers is the sunflower. The yellow ones are like bursts of sunshine and, as their big beautiful faces joyfully turned toward the sun, they just make me smile.

In honor of these bright beauties and the changing of the seasons, I am premiering a new video for “Sunflower Serenade” by Pete Sinjin, a NY-based singer-songwriter. Sinjin, better known as “Hootenanny Pete,” offers up a refreshing acoustic folk/pop tune that speaks to the propensity for growth and creativity we all have within us. Sinjin notes: “In this lifetime all you need / is a little faith and a pack of seeds.” Just delightful.

d5571d9c-f650-42b8-ad34-196d5b9825d9“Sunflower Serenade” is from Sinjin’s family album, House of Song. Sinjin notes, “The original inspiration for House of Song came about while walking the streets of NYC and recognizing the diversity of its people. From there came the notion of a house that invited and celebrated ‘all people, all races, all colors, all faces’. A gathering place where everyone could find themselves singing in harmony and raising the rooftop with the spirit of love and acceptance.”

“Sunflower Serenade” is available through iTunes, CDBaby or Amazon. You can also sample tracks from and purchase House of Song through these links.

Be sure to stay in touch with Pete Sinjin through his official site, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Video premiere: “Hold On To Your Dreams” – Mista Cookie Jar and the Chocolate Chips

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As parents, we want our children to dream big.

Telling my daughter “the sky’s the limit” feels powerful. Honoring her ideas and imagining all the possibilities with her creates moments that I hope feed her soul and open up her field of vision to look beyond the obstacles. And if an obstacle pops up, my wish is that she’ll know it’s neither the end of the story nor the end of the world. It’s just a bump on the road to reaching her goal.

The real reward, after all, isn’t “winning” or “nailing that project” but what we’ve learned along the way. How we pushed through the moments of frustration and desperation. And how we got stronger and more self-assured for all the sweat and angst. That’s what I want my daughter to know. It takes patience to fulfill your dreams and take action on brilliant ideas and it just isn’t easy sometimes. But the gold at the end of that rainbow is worth it.

LA-based group Mista Cookie Jar and The Chocolate Chips (MCJ) are one of the biggest champions of bringing positive messages into households. This family ensemble is eager to reach young, developing minds and to inspire thinkers, dreamers, and those of us young at heart.

Today I am proud to premiere the first video in a series of video releases this week celebrating MCJ’s forthcoming album, Music is Everywhere (release date: March 11, 2016).

“Hold on to Your Dreams” is an all-natural fam jam that calls attention to a critical part of the dream equation. The act of encouraging kids to hold on to and follow their dreams is a big piece, and the love and support we offer as parents is the charge in the formula that gives our kids the surge to “keep goin’, keep holdin’ on.” To travel carefully over each bump.

Role models come in all forms and MCJ and the Chocolate Chips are making their mark. In just over a year, they have written 13 songs (one song per month) as well as produced their own videos. In “Hold On To Your Dreams” and with their forthcoming release of new songs and previously released singles this group has become a shining example of what it means to persevere. They have done it as a family, showing that having a solid family foundation fuels the flames that lead to glorious results. And that makes it all worth it in the end.

Keep up with Mista Cookie Jar and the Chocolate Chips this week through their official site, FB page and Twitter. You can also subscribe to their YouTube channel to get updates on new video releases. Below is a brief interview with Mista Cookie Jar about this week’s plans and a brief behind the scenes look the making and meaning of “Hold On To Your Dreams.”


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KCG: Tell us a bit about how the song and video cam about. How did you start making music with Tembra and Lyrin?

MCJ: Our friend Tembra and her daughter Lyrin have been in the Chocolate Chip crew from the very beginning. Lyrin is like a cousin to my kids, Ava and Lucas. They grew up together. Tembra is childhood friends with Jenna aka Missis Cookie Jar. “Hold On To Your Dreams” has been around for years, honed and crafted over late night jam sessions and bonfires. Tembra and Lyrin moved up to the redwoods a few years ago from LA, so we’ve continued the tradition of family sing-a-longs and camping when we go up north to visit them in. This video captures the spirit of enjoying the wonders of nature in Northern Cali with friends and family. Cell service is terrible so it’s a nice treat to have some phone detox QT with the whole fam bam.

Tembra and Lyrin first appeared in our 2nd album, Ultramagnetic Universal Love Revolution in the song, Shaggy Bee. As you can see, Lyrin has her mother’s talent for singing. We’re so happy this song has received high praise from our fans, and a lot of air play on Sirius XM 78’s Kids Place Live!

KCG: The album and this song particular has a real “lived-in” vibe. I’m sure this has a bit to do with your song-a-month mission and EP release. Can you tell us a bit about your songwriting/recording process?

MCJ: Our new album, Music is Everywhere, has an organic quality to it which I believe is something to appreciate. It’s this soulful approach to playing music that is becoming a rare bird, especially for younger tech-savvy generations. I’m happy to toss my hat in the ring and go back to the roots — especially before I switch it up again with some banging beats!

KCG: What’s in store for this week?

MCJ: Everyday this week, Mista Cookie Jar and the Chocolate Chips will be dropping 5 new music videos – one new on each day – leading up to the world premiere of our 3rd album, Music is Everywhere. This release process was totally inspired by the marketing stunt for Weird Al’s last album release. We wanted to really make the new album an event, ya know? I’m excited to share all the videos! Don’t wanna give too much away, but there is some claymation, some ballet, some live stuff and even cutting edge 360 video technology — you know, where you either have one of those Oculus head sets or you just move your phone around or scroll with your finger to see the YouTube vid in 3D.

The songs on Music is Everywhere have mostly all been released as singles or on an EP during my single-a-month run this past year. But there will be a couple brand spanking new tracks on the record — one of which will be released with a video on the same day of the album release.

Music is Everywhere will be premiering March 11, 2016 on Zooglobble. Stay tuned via the aforementioned links to get the latest and greatest updates.